Friday, June 3, 2011



I can't say I am tired; I hardly did any work this week. I am not going to let it get me down though. I am going to keep on chugging away.

Anyway, I decided to Yelp myself this week. You know anything less than a five star rating is just unacceptable. Well, I have 5 comments that are five stars, which makes me very happy. But I have one comment that is a three star, and this has turned my world upside down. Okay, okay. I know it is not the end of the world. I know that I can't please everyone. Before I go on let me let you read the comment.

"very expensive.. front office staff does not work for the patient. no assistance with insurance. charge you all up front and tell you to go work the admin. bad mouth insurance companies, and dont take time to find out what is paid / allowed. charged me 350 for first visit.

dentist is great. very caring. want to get you engage and going. young man and his father."

Let's break this comment down a bit. First and foremost, the person should spend some time learning to type before he starts reviewing people and places. I mean, put a full sentence together, for crying out loud. (I know what you are thinking, "That is real mature. Bad mouth the reviewer. Typical.")

Okay, now that I've gotten past my anger/disappointment/hurt, let's review. $350 could only be one thing at our office - a pulpectomy. So I can only assume he (or she) showed up in pain with a hole in his tooth. I usually steer people in the direction of saving their teeth. I am assuming that because he reviews on Yelp, he is young enough that he should save his tooth.

I assume that we got him out of pain, removed the decay, did a pulpectomy, put in some cacium hydroxide, and put in a temporary filling. As a side note, if he gets the root canal completed here in a reasonable amount of time, the $350 is put toward the root canal fee. How much fairer can you get? And it looks like I didn't even charge him for an exam and x-ray. But he says, "very expensive."

As far as the insurance comments, we do not take insurance for emergency visits on people we don't know. We have been burned so many times by people saying they have insurance when they don't, and then it becomes a huge collection problem, so we just stopped.

And the bad-mouthing the insurance company? Well, guilty as charged. I have found that some insurance companies try to find every way not to pay a claim or not to help their customers, and that gets me kind of annoyed with the whole system. I tend to not talk all that nice about them.

You know most of his issue is with money. I get that: dentistry is expensive. It is. But don't kill the messenger. I am fair and I think I am very good. Good dentistry costs money. He had a toothache and went to the dentist. What was he expecting? If he has insurance we will help him file and there is a chance he is going to get some of the money back.

If I don't take care of regular maintenance on my car, and then I have trouble, I take it to the mechanic and he fixes my problem. I am not going to get angry at the fee. When cars need fixin', it is going to get expensive. I am not going to blame the mechanic.

So, it is what it is. But you know what? I don't like it when people are upset with me. I don't like it when someone out there feels slighted by me. On YELP, there are ways to contact the reviewer. I wrote him and wanted to make things right. I told him that not getting a five star rating was unacceptable. I told him the reasons why we don't take insurance on the first visit, and that I talk the talk and walk the walk. I told him I wanted to make feel great about me and my office, and asked him contact me and that I would work with him on the second half of the root canal. I told him to get in touch with me and we would talk about how I can rectify this situation.

I have not received any correspondence from him. What else can a business owner do?

As an aside, there is a place on Yelp where a business owner can respond to a review and everyone can see it. But when you press the "Owner comment" button, there is a pop-up that bascially says, "Think before you send this." I wrote out this long response and then just started to think about it and decided to leave well enough alone. I deleted my response before I sent it.

That is my Yelp story for the week. Anybody been slammed on Yelp yet? Do you even check yourself? You better, because people are talking about you. Sometimes good, and sometimes bad. Who knows? It could make you a better dentist. Check out "Glowing Recommendation?" in the June 2011 issue of AGD Impact for tips on checking your online reviews (page 22 in the digital edition).

Have a great weekend.

Go Mavericks.


1800DENTIST4DDS said...

It was smart to reach out to the individual who posted the three star Yelp review. It would have been smarter still had you reached out publicly instead of privately. A public response on Yelp shows potential patients that you're a concerned professional who is willing to go above and beyond to provide a good experience. Right now, all people see are several stellar reviews and one that’s so-so.

Hannah said...

I agree that it's frustrating to see people leave bad reviews when they clearly didn't even understand the situation at all. It's hard to not respond, but in some cases, it really is the best option. On another note... as someone from Texas... I have to echo, GO MAVS!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Really who cares. It is a losing situation. You cannot post anything on line about a pt because if they find out it is them you are talking about you have just violated HIPAA privacy and can be fined. If you sue them for what they said then you will lose and pay attorney cost for both you and them.
As far a pt is concerned they have insurance and it should pay for everything so screw the dentist. I just want what is mine for free. No one realizes that the health profession get screwed both way with ins. Pts just hear what they want to hear point blank, so I have gotten to the point where I really watch what I say.

gatordmd said...


Great idea. I read your comments and went right to Yelp and posted a public comment. I think it would come across perfectly to anyone who read my comments back.

Thanks for the heads-up.

Teeth Whitening Allentown said...

I read over your blog. Interesting post and good looking site. I'm definitely going to visit again!

Suzanne said...

I happened upon this blog and was pulled in. I've been reading your posts for the last 15 minutes. Great stuff. You write well and are very entertaining.

About Yelp - you can't please everyone when you have your own business. There will always be complainers who don't appreciate your apparently excellent service. I am social friends with my dentist and she and I always talk about "the grumblers" - you really don't want them as regular patients because they are not good for the office, and not good for you. Let it go!

gatordmd said...


Thanks for commenting.
Thanks for complimenting my writing too.
I hope you stay.
Look you have 3 years of blogs to catch up. So you better get going.

Talk to you soon,

Dana said...

I would do everything possible to make sure that complainer doesn't come back to your office. You obviously are great at what you do. Nobody should have to put up with that.
Dana - The Art Guy


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